Purpose: To review current findings on the neuro- and psychopharmacology of monoamine neurotransmitters in zebrafish, as well as its consequences for psychopharmacology and evolutionary neuroscience.
Methods: A narrative review of the relevant papers known to the authors was conducted.
Results: Monoamine neurotransmitters are major neuromodulatory mechanisms in the vertebrate brain, associated with most psychological functions. The chemical anatomy of these systems and their molecular underpinnings are assumed to be highly conserved in the brain of all vertebrates, including zebrafish. This conservation is the basis for reductionist models and the central argument for the use of zebrafish in psychopharmacology research. The development of behavioral assays in zebrafish allowed the psychopharmacological investigation of monoaminergic functions in this species. In the review, we demonstrate that behavioral functions of these systems are highly conserved, in spite of important species differences in genetics and neuroanatomy. These differences in spite of functional conservance, previously made mainly in relation to the serotonergic system, are shown to be widespread.
Conclusions: The consequences for these discrepancies for reductionist strategies, for the evolution of brain and behavior, and for the use of zebrafish as a model organism are discussed.